I make a few versions of Asian noodle salads, and this is my Spring version with asparagus and radishes. It's a nice transition piece to Spring cooking because the asparagus are blanched while the other vegetables are left crisp and fresh. There's a combination of warm and cold, cooked and raw elements which feels right to me for the Spring weather here. For a meal, I paired the noodles with these amazing sweet potato carrot cakes I had leftover in the freezer.
When I started this blog 2 years ago, I wanted to ensure I was making the most of seasonal ingredients that you all as my readers were seeing at the markets. So it forced me to become more aware of seasonal variation in cooking and eating styles. And now I'm learning even more in my coursework about the importance of eating in alignment with the seasons.
You know how we naturally crave cold drinks or ice cream in the summer and warming, heavier stews or pasta in the winter? This is our body acting in alignment with nature's rhythms without our mind taking over. Our ancestors did this well. We in modern society with modern conveniences do not do it so well. The same foods are often available all year around and we are bombarded with so much media and diet news to eat this and not that, that we overthink things. Our mind now overpowers our whole being and we've lost touch with nature and with our inner voice and wisdom.
But we can do something about that! If we take the time to tune into and trust what our body is telling us, we can become our own detectives and make that connection between the foods we eat and how we feel. Perhaps digestion issues or food sensitivities would clear up as a result?
I want to take it a step further and mention that eating seasonally also relates to eating what grows nearby, when available. The produce that thrives in the environment in which we live is bound to also support our body in the way it needs to thrive in the same environment. Our body will know what to do with this food to optimize energy.
In the end, it's not about perfecting seasonal, local eating. It's never about perfection. At best it's about tuning into our intuition and rebuilding the relationship and trust with our bodies and inner voice. So I challenge you to truly listen to and trust what your body is telling you this week, and see what happens!
Lime-Tamari Noodles with Asparagus
Notes: I use brown rice noodles here but soba/black rice/regular rice noodles or whole wheat spaghetti would also be nice options. This makes a lot. If you know you'll have leftovers the next day, consider mixing only half of the veg and noodles with the dressing and storing leftover dressing in a jar in the fridge to toss with the other half the next day.
12 oz. brown rice noodles (~340 grams)
1 bunch asparagus
1 small Chinese cabbage (or Napa cabbage)
1 spring onion
1 red chili
Lime-Tamari Dressing (recipe below)
Toasted cashews (not pictured)
Remove and discard woody ends of asparagus. Slice asparagus on the diagonal into 1/2 inch pieces.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop pasta and cook 1 minute shy of package directions. Add asparagus the last 2 minutes of pasta cooking time. Drain and rinse under cold water.
In the meantime, halve and slice cabbage, slice radishes, thinly slice spring onions and chili on a diagonal, and chop cilantro and mint. Add vegetables and pasta to a large serving bowl (you may not want to use all the cabbage, depending on how much there is). Pour over half dressing and toss with tongs. Serve remaining dressing at table. Top with cashews.
3 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
2 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tsp. orange marmalade (or honey)
Small knob ginger, grated or minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Add all ingredients to a small jar, cover with lid, and shake until well mixed. Taste and adjust acidity and sweetness to your liking. Alternatively, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.